A/n: Sorry for the late update! I've had a lot of studying and homework to do.
This chapter is in Katniss's POV, woo!
Also, check out my new Everlark fanfic, For Keeps.
I do not own The Hunger Games.
"You have four more stairs left," I urge Peeta, and keep my hands wrapped around his arm. "You can do it!" I add in sarcastically when he doesn't even acknowledge me.
We climb up the last four stairs, and I walk over to the apartment door, opening it with Peeta's key. I drop the backpack that Finnick brought to the hospital a few days ago on the floor by the coat rack.
"You hungry?" I ask while he carefully sits down on the couch. He shrugs in response to my question, and I glare at the back of his head. 3 days ago he had got all quiet and would barely talk or eat. He's been moody and weird, and no one knows why. Anger bubbles within me. Why can't he just talk to me?
"What the hell is your problem, Peeta?" I move to stand at the edge of the couch with my hands on my hips and scowl at him. "You've been an asshole to everyone for the last few days, and I've had it up to here with you." I hold my hand high above my head.
I stare at Peeta expectantly, waiting for him to say something. He glances up at me and shrugs again. I sigh and walk over to the door.
"I'm done." I say, "I'm done trying right now. When you get your shit together, come find me."
His head turns to me, and he narrows his eyes. "Katniss, just go! If you've had enough of me, just go!"
"Actually," I add in before I leave. "Don't come find me. I've tried to make you laugh, been nice, been comforting... And you've been a huge asshole in return." I slam the door and angrily march down the stairs. I get in my car and head off to the place where I can take out my anger.
"Sweetheart," A gruff voice calls out as I walk into the training gym. I roll my eyes and walk over to the front desk. The owner sits there with a dark water bottle, probably filled with alcohol, his straw-blonde hair is unkempt and his shirt is wrinkled. "Haven't seen ya in a while. Miss me?"
I glare and grab a key and lock for the change room lockers. "Yeah, who wouldn't miss your sarcasm and lovely scent of Vodka?"
He lets out a dry laugh. "Says the Queen of Sarcasm." My scowl deepens and he stretches out on the chair with a triumphant grin. "Y'know, your children are gonna be sarcastic assholes just like you. Admit it."
"Who said I wanted kids, Haymitch?" I scoff.
Haymitch laughs and takes a sip from his bottle. "Scratch that. You'd actually have to find someone to put up with you." I purse my lips and say nothing. Haymitch's eyes widen and he stifles a laugh. "Oh, so that's why you're here."
I roll my jaw and stare him down. He leans over the desk and laughs. "Did he dump ya? He's missing out on your amazing personality! Lets not forget your lovely smile, too."
"Oh, fuck you, Haymitch." I say casually and walk off down the hall to the change room. Haymitch's laughter echoes down the hallway after me. That drunk drives me crazy.
I change into shorts and a black tank top, and walk back out into the gym. It's quite run down. Cement floors, dim lights, brick walls. And you can smell just a hint of mildew. But I like it, I like the imperfectness of it. There are only a few other people here; a girl and guy occupy two treadmills and a young guy is bench pressing weights. I walk over to the far corner of the gym where the boxing bags are hanging. I line up in front of a beat-up leather black bag, and before starting, I grab some tape from the equipment box and tape up my hands. The tape goes over my scarred knuckles, scars from when I first started kick-boxing.
After tossing the tape off to the side, I walk up to the bag and begin to lightly warm up. After stretching out my muscles a bit, I let my frustration take control. My fists connect with the bag creating thuds throughout the gym. When I bring up my leg to kick the bag, I grunt with effort.
Upper cut, upper cut, elbow, left, right, kick, knee. Beads of sweat roll down my temples and my neck. I repeat: Upper cut, upper cut, elbow, left, right, kick, knee.
Peeta's an asshole.
Everything is my fault.
Peeta's still an asshole.
Maybe I'm the asshole..
Nah, Peeta is.
I hate life.
I punch, elbow and kick harder as my thoughts become more confusing and frustrating. I repeat the same movements, but I feel my power and speed slowing down after continuing so many times. My knuckles start to ache, so with one last punch I stop.
"Bet you wish that was me."
My heart twists at the sound of his voice. But I keep my back to him, and slowly unwrap the tape from my hands. When I'm done, I just stare down at my white, scarred knuckles and breathe in a deep, trying to catch my breath.
"Mostly." I say still not facing him.
I hear him shuffle on his feet. "Katniss,"
I whip around and open my mouth to tell him off, but the words get caught in my throat. He's wearing black sweatpants, a fresh white t-shirt, his Lakers snapback hat... his appearance is so relaxed, but the look on his face is what stopped me from yelling. His eyes are full of regret and pain.
"Can we go somewhere to talk?" He manages to get out. His voice is scratchy, and his adam's apple bobs like he's about to cry.
"One second," I hold up my finger, and jog back over to the change room. I quickly change out of my gym clothes, and back into my jeans and t-shirt. I throw my hair into a messy bun, and go back out to get Peeta.
My eyes scan the gym, but Peeta is nowhere to be found. I walk over to the front desk, and Haymitch looks up, and points to the doors. "He's outside," I nod and go to push open the doors. "Don't mess this up, Sweetheart. That boy is somethin'."
I glare in return, and walk through the doors. I see Peeta leaning against his Jeep, he looks up when I approach. "Your place?" I ask. He nods, but doesn't say anything else. Without another word being exchanged, I get into my car and trail behind Peeta's jeep back to his place.
Peeta closes the door to his bedroom, so that we don't disturb Finnick and Annie's movie. I stand there awkwardly, then Peeta motions to his bed. I sit up against the headboard, and he takes a seat on the edge where my feet end. I smooth my hand over the dark blue comforter, waiting for Peeta to speak up. I hear something fall on the floor, and I look to see his hat dropped on the floor. He runs his hands through his hair and over his face.
"You asked me to talk," I snap. "So talk."
"Katniss," he breathes out. "I just... The last few days weren't the greatest to me."
I snort. "Ya think?"
He looks up at me, and I instantly feel bad. His eyes are bloodshot, and not full of happiness like they usually are. "Boggs... told me I was off the force until I could "redeem my physical health." Then, I quit 'cause I was mad. And just stuff happened."
At the mention of Boggs' name, I remember when I talked to him briefly.
"Katniss, hello. I'm Officer Boggs. I would like to let you know that Marvel has been arrested, and his trial is next week. We've recorded many statements, and have listed many witnesses. So, the only thing left to be decided is how long his sentence will be." Boggs tells me gruffly.
Boggs seems like a closed off man. He looks to be very serious and uptight. His greying hair is neatly combed, and his blue eyes pierce you, your soul.
"I'm guessing the sentence will be more than two years. He committed many crimes, and we've found evidence upon his home inspection to tie us to other cases. I cannot disclose anymore information, Miss Everdeen. Now I hope you feel more safe, and not to worry about that Marvel Smith prick."
I give him a stiff smile and nod. "Thank you."
"What stuff?" I ask.
Peeta sighs and his shoulders slump. "I have these drea – nightmares. When I met you, they didn't come as often. And when they did, they weren't as bad. I guess all the stress caused me to have the worst one yet... It was the night after Boggs told me I was off the force."
I sit up fully, and move to the edge of the bed, next to him. He keeps staring down at his hands, and I softly ask, "What was it about?"
"My mother," he mumbles. "It wasn't a nightmare though. I relived the worst beating she ever gave me.. It was just so vivid. I thought it was real life... and..." he trails off, but continues onto something else. "I was seventeen. I remember I had the worst flu. I wouldn't stop shaking, and it was raining out. My mother wouldn't tell me where the medicine was. She said "I don't need you wasting my medicine!" So, I went to bed early. It was always my job to take out the trash, but I figured Ryan would."
"I woke up to screaming, then she came barging into my room. She ripped up my painting and drawings, and threw them in a garbage bag. I was still in a daze, so when I sat there, she got mad and started hitting me. I was kneed and kicked in the stomach. When I threw up, she screamed more and started hitting my face." I cover my mouth and grab Peeta's hand with my free one. "I had a black eye, broken nose, and a badly bruised rib. I think it was broken, but I guess I'll never know."
I sneak a glance at his nose, and I never noticed it before; the way his nose shifts slightly to the right, and the small bump to it.
"Peeta," I grab his face and turn it toward me. His blue eyes are dull and sad. "You're so much better than her."
He shrugs. "Sorry for being an asshole."
I roll my eyes and shake my head. "No, you're not. Sorry for calling you an asshole." I brush my hand over his hair, and stand up. I pull him farther up the bed, and pull back the blanket. "You need to sleep."
He doesn't protest, and lays down. I pull the covers over his body, and run a hand through his hair. "Don't go." He whispers quietly.
"I'm not. I'll be right back." I say quietly. I tiptoe out of the room, and when I walk into the living room, I see Annie watching the TV while Finnick snores lightly.
I look at the screen and groan. "Not you, too."
Annie looks up at me and laughs. "I'll take it that Peeta made you watch The Vow?" I shudder and nod. "He's quite the romantic. Not sure about Finn though." She says with a chuckle while looking at Finnick.
"I don't blame him for sleeping through this."
"How's Peeta?" Annie asks with concern.
I shrug. "He seems better now. We talked a few things out.."
Annie smiles and nods. "You know... he is crazy about you."
Heat spreads across my cheeks. "Well, he's uh.." I trail off with embarrassment.
"Yeah, I get it." She says with a grin. I chuckle and give a small wave before walking back to Peeta's room. I close the door behind me, and give my eyes a few seconds to adjust to the darkness. I notice a small light shining beneath the covers. Silently, I tiptoe over to the bed and pull back the comforter. Peeta's eyes flit up to mine, and he gives me a sheepish grin.
"What are-" I look at the phone in his hands, and see colourful game. "Peeta, you're supposed to be sleeping! Not playing Candy Crush!"
He clicks off his phone and it's dark again. "It's highly addictive."
"Sleep is more important," I retort.
He sighs. "Will you lay with me?"
"Will you go to sleep then?" I ask. I hear his head move in the dark, so I take that as a yes. I walk around to the other side of the bed, slide beneath the comforters, and Peeta turns on his side to face me. In the dark, I can still make out his face, the outline of his golden, messy hair. "Peeta, go to sleep."
"Can't when my heart's beating this fast."
"What?" I ask as I turn on my side to face him.
I can see a smirk stretch across his face, and his voice comes out sleepy. That's pretty hot...Katniss, stop! "Because there's a beautiful girl laying beside me."
My lips form a smile, and I blush. "Do you ever stop?"
"Do you ever stop being sweet?" I blurt out.
His voice lowers to a groggy whisper. "Not for you."
I quietly laugh, and watch him close his eyes. His lips form a small 'o' when he breathes in. The golden hair falls over his forehead, and I lightly brush it away. His lips form a silly smile when I pull my hand away, and I freeze thinking I woke him. But as I wait, he doesn't move again.
"You know," I whisper when he's asleep. "You need to make me your famous Kraft Dinner before I die." I say remembering the day we played soccer, and he told me he's good at making KD.
"Before we're married." he mumbles. My wide eyes lock on him, is he awake?!
"Peeta?" I say, not whispering.
He flinches, and his eyes snap open. "Huh?"
"What did you just say...?"
I see his eyebrows raise in the dark, and he says with confusion, "Wha-... I was sleeping. I didn't say anything?"
"Oh... uh, yeah." I stutter, and pull the comforter up to my chin.
He chuckles and shifts slightly. "Oh, you should tell Gale we're okay. He threatened to, and I quote, "grind your happy sacs, and beat the shit outta you" if I hurt you."
He talked to Gale?... Oh. "Is that how you found out where I was?"
"Yeah, I talked to Gale and Madge.. Maybe I shoulda just talked to Madge on her own.." I chuckle and so does Peeta. "Hey, Katniss..?"
I close my eyes as sleep sets in. "Mhmm?"
"We're going on a date tomorrow. Okay?" He says softly.
My thoughts start slipping away from me... "Yeah, sure."
Katniss's breathing slows, and her jaw slackens. "Peeta...?" She mumbles quietly.
Surprised, my eyes open a little more. "Yes, Katniss?"
"Stay with me," she mutters sleepily, and then a soft snore comes from her.
My eyes roam over her slightly untidy hair, her softened features, her vulnerability. She doesn't have her guard up, or her scowl on. She's beautiful, but in a different way. But she's beautiful all the time, too.
"Always," I whisper and lean in to kiss her forehead.
I close my own eyes and drift off to whatever tonight's sub-conscience has planned for me.
A/n: So, not much to say...
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Check out my newest Everlark fanfic: For Keeps. I'll be updating it soon!
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